The first Sims add-on pack couldn't have arrived at a better time, commercially at least - appearing right in the middle of the Big Brother craze, right after the original game has made a chart comeback. Livin' It Up is bound to become a massive success. Whether it deserves to be is another matter. The Sims received widespread critical acclaim when it first came out last year, and many a hardened gamer trotted off to the shops and got hooked for a couple of days to the irrelevant lives of the baby-talking, floorwetting, groin-clouded artificial creatures. The problem is that after a week or so of intensive play, almost everybody, ourselves included, had had enough of seeing to the Sims' every whim. Their perpetual need for food, sleep and social interaction makes for engrossing play for a while, but after that you've just had enough.
The reason The Sims is still going strong is that it's one of the few games non-gamers buy and play with wild abandon. It'll be the same people who buy Livin' It Up.
There are five new career paths, retro and medieval buildings and even alien visitations. But for someone who has already had enough Sims to last a lifetime, Livin' It Up added half an hour's worth of entertainment.
That being the case, we'd recommend it only for those who are still playing the original regularly, but have grown a bit tired of the same designs and fashions. Anyone who uses this game to recreate the people - and I use the term in the loosest, most vacuous way - from Big Brother has serious problems.